Category Archives: Soup

Lentil, chickpea, and vegetable soup – aka toddler candy

My 15-month-old daughter doesn’t eat much and is pretty picky about what she does eat.  She also changes what foods she will and won’t eat about every few days.  She definitely does not eat sautéed vegetables.  Possibly a problem for a vegetarian kid whose parents’ go-to meal is pasta with sautéed vegetables, but we discovered that vegetable soup for her is magical toddler candy.

I went to freeze the leftover soup for Andrew to take to work with him during the week and discovered that there were hardly any vegetables left.  She ate almost all of the vegetables out of the pot, and a large number of the ones that made it into our bowls, between last night and this evening.

Here’s what I put in it (approximate):
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
3 carrots
3 stalks celery
1 potato
3 medium-sized summer squash
2 cups green lentils
1 cup red lentils
1 cup cooked chickpeas and their cooking liquid
1/4 cup red wine

Dried herb and spices to taste:
1 vegetable bouillon cube (not really necessary)
2 bay leaves
oregano
basil
thyme
marjoram
cumin (preferably toasted, but I was lazy)
hot pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper

2 cups blended fire-roasted tomatoes
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
Fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil

Start by heating water in a large tea kettle.

Begin heating a few Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the vegetables as you finish chopping them, the onions first, then garlic, carrots, celery, potato, and summer squash.  Stir to mix as you add them.

Wash and add the green lentils, red lentils, and chickpeas.  Add the red wine, herbs and spices, and pour in enough water from the tea kettle to make soup.

Once the lentils are cooked (about 40 minutes), add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and add salt to taste.  Add sugar if needed.

Serve with a drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil and some shredded fresh basil.

We have lots of fresh herbs and chard in the garden, but Ariella was sleeping, so I couldn’t go out of the house to pick them.  They would have been great additions.

We ate our soup with toast and beautiful tomatoes from our garden.

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White Bean, Potato and Cabbage Soup

Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 carrot
2 stalks celery
Thyme
Marjoram
Rosemary
1 bay leaf
Black pepper
Salt
2.5 lbs – 4 medium russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups great northern beans, cooked
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
Water
2.5 lbs – 1 head cabbage
3/4 cup dry white wine
Parmesan

Heat a few Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot.  Dice one onion, the garlic, carrot, and celery and add them to the pot as they are ready.  Add dried thyme, marjoram, rosemary, a bay leaf, plenty of fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste.  Turn heat to medium-low and cook for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.

Peel and chop the potatoes and add them to the pot along with the pre-cooked great northern beans.  Add 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth and then enough water to make a nice soup consistency.  Bring soup to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to low.  Allow to cook for about 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes, chop the head of cabbage and add it to the pot.  Add 3/4 of a cup of dry white wine and continue cooking for approximately another 30 minutes.  Taste to make sure everything is cooked and to adjust seasonings.

Serve topped with parmesan and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.

Changes:
I used dried herbs, since that was what I had, but fresh ones would be great.
I might use more beans next time and a little less cabbage.

Helpful equipment:
I determined which herbs would go well with my main ingredients by consulting the book The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs
Kitchen scale: Salter Digital Scale – Extra-Precise
This kitchen scale is a rather expensive one recommended by Lynne Rossetto Kasper from The Splendid Table.

Lentil Barley Soup

1 medium yellow onion
4 garlic cloves
3 carrots
2 stalks celery
2 cubes vegetable bouillon – I use Rapunzel
Dried thyme
Dried rosemary, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
Fresh ground pepper
Red pepper flakes
2 cups french lentils
2 cups green lentils
Fresh or 1/2 cup frozen spinach
1 cup barley
1/2 can Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tsp. tomato paste
1 pinch sugar
2 1/2 tsp. salt + more to taste
1/2 cup white wine

Add about two Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a large soup pot and turn heat to medium-low.  Chop the onion and add it to the pot, stirring as needed and making sure the heat is low enough so the onions cook slowly and begin to turn translucent.  Chop the garlic and add it to the pot with the onions.

Stir and add bouillon cubes and herbs to taste: plenty of dried thyme, finely chopped dried rosemary, 2 bay leaves, fresh ground pepper, and enough hot pepper flakes to give the soup warmth.  Cut the carrots and celery and add them to the pot as they are chopped, stirring occasionally.

Rinse the lentils and add them to the pot.  Boil water in a tea kettle and fill the pot until you have a soup consistency, this may require two or three tea kettles of water depending on the size of the kettle.  Some of the water will cook out, so add enough to account for that.  Salt the soup and add plenty of fresh ground pepper.
If using frozen spinach, add some now.  If using fresh spinach, put it in right at the end so it wilts just before serving.

Turn the heat to low and let the soup simmer for about 1 hour.

After an hour, add the cup of barley, the diced tomatoes, the tomato paste, and sugar.  Add about 1/2 cup of white wine and taste again for salt.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Continue to simmer the soup for another 40 minutes to an hour.

Serve with a drizzle of really good olive oil.  Can also be served with Parmesan on top or a small amount of balsamic vinegar, both of which change the flavor fairly markedly.

Notes:
I posted a recipe for lentil soup on this blog earlier, but this lentil barley soup is definitely my favorite version so far!

The quantities are approximations, since I didn’t measure anything except the lentils and barley.

You may want to add a bit more white wine than what I said here.  I didn’t want to go overboard, since again I didn’t measure, but just taste it and add more if you think it needs it.

Tomato Soup

1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (Muir Glen)
1 28-oz can whole fire roasted tomatoes (Muir Glen)
1/2 pint (8 oz) whipping cream
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried herbs: basil, thyme, and oregano
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar
Salt
Pepper

Add a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a soup pot and turn heat to medium-low.  Chop the onion and the two cloves of garlic and add them to the pot.  Adjust the heat as necessary so they cook and will turn translucent.  Add the dried herbs, sugar, and a dash of cayenne pepper.  Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add the 1/2 cup of dry white wine, turn the flame to medium heat, and allow the wine to mostly cook out.

Add the two cans of tomatoes.  Using an immersion blender, blend until chunky or the desired consistency.  Note, an immersion blender will not blend until smooth, for that you will need to use a standing blender.

Add the 8 oz. of cream and stir.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to allow the soup to simmer.  Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.  Allow to simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.

Serves 5.

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
3 carrots
3 stalks celery
1 potato
2 zucchini
4 cups French lentils
1 cube vegetable bouillon
1 cup dry white wine
Dried thyme
Dried rosemary
2 bay leaves
Hot pepper flakes
Tomato paste
Salt
Pepper

Add about two Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a large soup pot and turn heat to medium-low.  Chop the onion and add it to the pot, stirring as needed and making sure the heat is low enough so the onions cook slowly and begin to turn translucent.  Chop the garlic and add it to the pot with the onions.  Cut the carrots, celery, potato, and zucchini and add them to the pot as they are chopped, stirring occasionally.

Rinse the lentils and add them to the pot along with a bouillon cube and one cup of dry white wine.  Stir and add herbs to taste: plenty of thyme, rosemary, 2 bay leaves, and enough hot pepper flakes to give the soup warmth.

Boil water in a tea kettle and fill the pot until you have a soup consistency.  Some of the water will cook out, so add enough to account for that.  Salt the soup and add plenty of fresh ground pepper.

Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 1-2 hours.

Towards the end of the cooking process, add some tomato paste and taste again for salt.  Adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve with a drizzle of really good olive oil.  Can also be served with Parmesan on top or a small amount of balsamic vinegar, both of which change the flavor fairly markedly.

Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 onion minced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 medium carrots small dice
2 medium stalks celery small dice
1/4 cup dry white wine
A bit of freshly grated nutmeg
Fresh ground black pepper
2 large leeks
2 yukon gold potatoes diced in 1/4-1/2 inch cubes
2 russet potatoes diced in 1/4-1/2 inch cubes
2 tsp. salt
Water
Whipping cream
Parsley

Put the olive oil and butter in a soup pot and turn to low heat.  Mince the onion

Soup base cooking in the pot

and add it to the pot, stirring as needed.  Then mince the garlic and add the diced carrots and celery.  Continue cooking and stirring until the onion and vegetables get soft.  Add 1/4 cup of white wine to the cooking vegetables, the nutmeg, and some black pepper.

Cut the leeks in half length-wise and then in 1/4 inch pieces in width, using only the white and light green parts.  Add the leeks to the pot.  Dice the potatoes into approximately 1/4-1/2 inch cubes and add them to the pot as well.  Add enough water to get the consistency of soup you want and 2 tsp. of salt.

Potato Leek Soup Cooking

Turn heat up until soup boils and then down to a simmer for 30-40 minutes, or

until cooked to taste.  Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings.

You can serve the soup like this, or I prefer to blend it either partially or fully.

Before serving, stir in whipping cream to taste and top with freshly chopped parsley and fresh ground black pepper.

Commentary:
This is the first time I’ve ever made this soup, so I was making it up as I went along.  I think it could have used more nutmeg than what I added and maybe more garlic and white wine than I have in the recipe.  That might depend on taste.  I think I added a bit too much water, because I would have liked a thicker soup than what I ended up with.  Also, I think blending it in the blender would have given the soup a creamier texture than the blending job by the immersion blender.  I’m thinking to try blending it in the blender before I serve it for dinner tonight, to see if I’m right about the texture.
Overall I think it has a really nice, though delicate, flavor.  I couldn’t keep myself from having seconds at lunch even though we’re having it for dinner tonight.

 

Update post-blending:
I blended the soup in the standing blender and it was a very different experience!  I liked it both ways, blended and not blended.  The blended version came out, as I had hoped, thick, smooth, and creamy.  In its blended state it was also very homogeneous, so it needed the freshness and variety that the parsley provided or it would have been too monotonous.  One option would be to remove a portion of the soup, blend it in the standing blender, and return it to the pot with the rest of the unblended soup.  I think this would probably be my choice with future soup, though I’ll have to try it to make sure.